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Flooding on Park Street in Malone.  Photo: Franklin County Office of Emergency Services<br />
Flooding on Park Street in Malone. Photo: Franklin County Office of Emergency Services

How the cold spell flooded out homes in Malone

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At least six families have been flooded out of their homes on Lower Park Street in Malone.

Ricky Provost, director of the Franklin County Office of Emergency Services, says there's no way they will be able to return home any time soon. The evacuated houses have three feet of water in the first floor.

He says during the cold spell last week the Salmon River backed up with ice, and created an ice jam about 4,000 feet long.

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Reported by

Julie Grant
Reporter and Producer

Photo: Franklin County Office of Emergency Services
Photo: Franklin County Office of Emergency Services
"The river right now is traveling the path of least resistance, and that path is Lower Park Street instead of the river channel. The water is just coming out of Lower Park Street out of Fisherman's Park, running over the road for several hundred feet, then cutting a hole back into the river."

According to the Plattsburgh Press Republican, oil has leaked into the flooded area, and absorbent material was placed along the swollen Salmon River to capture it.

Provost says about 20 homes have had flooding to their water wells and septic systems so far.  The river was rising Wednesday, as snow melted in the warmer weather, and more rain is predicted today.

Emergency officials want to get the river running back in the river-bed, and off of Park Street. But Provost says the river bed is clogged.

Photo: Franklin County Office of Emergency Services
Photo: Franklin County Office of Emergency Services
"The river becomes almost slushy, it's been so cold for so long. And the frazil, it's called frazil ice, [it] just plugs the channel of the river. It's been a problem identified here for several years that there's silt in the river. The channel used to be 20 feet deep, and now the channel is 4 feet or less in some places."

Provost says eventually the river needs to be dredged, and about 10 houses may need to be bought out, so the road can be built up.

For now provost says he's had plenty of suggestions on how to remove the ice jam, but he's not convinced they're safe.

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